Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the Israeli Supreme Court’s dismissal of requests for the release of Palestinian detainee Maher al-Akhras, 49, who is approaching death after 98 days on hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention. The Court’s decision fosters violations against Palestinian detainees. Since such violations are rooted in Israeli legislation—in particular the Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 as well as military orders—Palestinian detainees are deprived of the legal protections guaranteed to persons deprived of their liberty under international human rights law.
Al-Akhras was arrested on 27 July 2020 in his hometown of Jenin, West Bank, and has been on a hunger strike ever since. The Commission of Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees reported that he is now on the verge of severe organ failure and has already lost his sight, hearing, and ability to speak.
According to Al Mezan’s follow-up, on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled for the fifth time against the immediate release of al-Akhras, which remains set for 26 November 2020. The Court also denied his transfer from Kaplan Medical Center, where he was admitted after his health condition worsened, to Al Makassed Hospital or An-Najah National University Hospital. The Court’s ruling followed the submission of a confidential file by the prosecution.
Al Mezan emphasizes that Israel’s ongoing policy of administrative detention constitutes a serious violation of its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Israel’s policy allows the state to hold Palestinians in custody without charges or convincing evidence provided in an open hearing and shared with the detainee’s lawyer, thus contradicting the essence of the right to a fair trial and freedom from arbitrary detention.
Article 43 of the Hague Convention of 1907 stipulates that an Occupying Power must respect the laws in force in the occupied country. Accordingly, there is no legal foundation to justify Israel’s policy of administrative detention based on the Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, which were no longer in force since 1948. Furthermore, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that Israel was not justified in holding Lebanese detainees without charges, meaning that administrative detention is also contrary to Israeli law.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations towards the Palestinian people and to exert pressure on Israel, the Occupying Power,
 The Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 became the basis for the Israeli authorities to issue administrative detention of Palestinians, claiming that these regulations were in force when Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. However, they were not part of the country’s law in 1967 as the British authorities had repealed them on 14 May 1948. This was confirmed by the British Foreign Office in a letter to Al-Haq, in addition to the fact that these regulations contradict the Jordanian constitution that prevailed in 1952.